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Ex-dairy farm in Norwich reintroduced as state’s largest solar energy site

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NORWICH — A former dairy farm in Norwich has been officially reintroduced as a provider of solar energy for municipal utilities served by the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative.

City and state officials were on hand Wednesday for the formal opening of Mountain Ash Solar Farm, which is home to the state's largest solar and energy storage system.

The 15-acre plot was formerly home to a dairy farm operated by seven generations of the Stott family. Now there are more than 15,000 solar panels on the land that are expected to produce enough electricity over the next two decades to power more than 8,400 homes for a year.

Norwich Public Utilities commissioned Solar City for the project, and Bright Fields Development to bring it into reality.

"They wanted it local  and within their distribution territory," said Michael Singer, of Bright Fields. "They can take the renewable energy , and dispatch  it to the grid whenever necessary."

The critical component? Fifteen Tesla batteries, which can store up to 3,000 hours of energy to use on rainy or cloudy days, or at night.

"It gives the the opportunity to uitilitze the power during off hours," Singer explained.

The farm will serve 20 percent of Norwich's customers, according to John Bilda of Norwich Public Utilities, and those customer won't have to pay a premium for the renewable energy.